The Metropolitan Handicap

Randwick Race Course

Randwick Race Course

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The Metropolitan Handicap is the Group 1 race on Epsom Handicap Day that has the longest distance of 2400 metres. Therefore, this open handicap race is usually contested by the best Australian stayer race horses of at least three years old. A race that is rich in tradition, the Metropolitan Handicap was first staged in 1863 and the inaugural race was won by Regno.

Back then, the initial Metropolitan Handicap had a race distance of 3200 metres and it was still known as the AJC Mayors Cup. Throughout the years, its race distance would undergo more adjustments. In 1890, the distance of the Metropolitan Handicap was trimmed to 12 furlongs or about 2400 metres. This distance was once again adjusted to 13 furlongs in 1920 and it remained such until 1970.

In 1971, the Metropolitan Handicap race distance was fixed to exactly 2600 metres. Finally, its current distance of exactly 2400 metres was established in 2001. The race was not held in 2007 due to the equine influenza virus.

Over the history of the Metropolitan Handicap, five race horses have won this race twice, three of which in back-to-back fashion. The consecutive wins feat was first achieved by Mooltan when he won in 1907 and 1908. A little over six decades later, Tails won in 1969 and 1970 while Hayai won in 1983 and 1984. Cagou and Murray Stream have both won two Metropolitan Handicaps but not in successive years.

Cagou won in 1913 and 1917 while Murray Stream won the Metropolitan Handicaps of 1945 and 1947.

The stayer horses that compete in the Metropolitan Handicap usually come from the 2000-metre, Group 3 Kingston Town Classic which happens three weeks before this race. However, the most ideal lead-up race for the Metropolitan Handicap is the 2400-metre, Colin Stephen Quality which is conducted on the same race course a week before the Metropolitan.

Due to the same race distance and track conditions that the Colin Stephen Quality is staged in, seven of the last fifteen winners of the Colin Stephen went on to win the Metropolitan Handicap. Its schedule and race length also makes the Metropolitan Handicap an ideal tune up race for more prestigious Group 1 races such as the 2400-metre Caulfield Cup and the 3200-metre Melbourne Cup.

Throughout its history, the Metropolitan Handicap has produced three Caulfield Cup winners and five Melbourne Cup winners. However, no race horse has won the Metropolitan Handicap, the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup all in the same year. As for the winners of the Metropolitan, Hayai set the fastest winning time in 1983 with two minutes, 27.8 seconds.

Jockey K. Langby has won this race five times. He got his victories aboard Striking Force in 1965, Oncidon in 1971, Analie in 1973, Bon Teint in 1975 and Ming Dynasty in 1978. In 2009, the Metropolitan Handicap had a total prize purse of AUD$350,000 and a big portion of it went to winner Speed Gifted. Lodge the Deeds and Fiumicino finished in second and third place respectively.

Together with the Flight Stakes, The Spring Champion Stakes and the Epsom Handicap, the 2010 Metropolitan Handicap will be held on the 2nd of October. Since it is just weeks away, punters and bookmakers are already busy laying their money on who they will think would win the race. Thus, you must join the bandwagon and place your bets at your trusted online bookmaker now.

The Metropolitan Handicap Recent History

Year

Winner

2nd

3rd

Time

2009

Speed Gifted

Lodge The Deeds

Fiumicino

2:35.1

2008

Newport

Bianca

Get Up Jude

2:33.0

2007

Race Not Run

2006

Tawqeet

Activation

Vanquished

2:31.1

2005

Railings

Run Rita Run

Men At Work

2:28.5

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